Science Resource: To Mine or Not to Mine…That is the Question!

The following case study is designed for grade 6-8 students who are learning about natural resources, the Earth’s crust, the human impact on our environment, land use, and industries.  Students will be deciding whether a copper deposit should be mined in a fictional town based on the information provided to them. I provided my students with a map of the town, a brief history of the town and its economy, and its present situation. Students were then provided with six characters that are affected by a possible mine and there are three “pro” characters and three “con” characters. Students have to read the information and determine whether they agree or disagree with the potential mine; once they have formed an opinion, they are to choose a character that matches their opinion and write a persuasive paper in that character’s voice. The main purpose of the report is to explore issues surrounding the use of natural resources and have students develop critical thinking skills. Students will also learn that the knowledge they gain in school plays an essential role in their everyday lives.

This is a cross-curricular activity that can be used for science, geography/social studies, and Language Arts.  Teachers can extend this activity one step further by holding a debate with students taking on the persona of various stakeholders.

Brief Teaching Notes:

Teachers should give students the case study and rubric at the same time; this way, students will understand what is expected of them and how their reports will be marked. Teachers must also explain to students that there is no right or wrong answer to describe what the residents of Drew’s Falls should decide but there are consequences to all choices. It must be clearly explained to students that they are able to choose any of the six characters and their report will be correct as long as they use information and logic to support their reasoning. I also gave my students some time to work on their reports during class, so that they could approach me with any questions they came across while organizing their ideas and writing their actual report. I suggest that teachers make sure that students understand the components of the assignment: the report must be written in the voice of one of the six characters, the report must be persuasive, students must express an opinion and use facts to support their thoughts, and various formats may be used (essay, letter, newspaper article etc).

Here are the student handout and rubric!  I hope your class enjoys it!

 

 

Checking Our Pulse!

Title:Checking our Pulse!

Subject/Grade: Phys.Ed/ Grade 5

Time Duration: Approx. 45-60 min.

Overview: Teaching students to understand the importance of checking our pulse regularly, beginning with knowing how to locate our pulse and how to check/record our pulse both before and after completing exercises.

Objectives:

Overall Expectations

By the end of Grade 5, students will:

· Identify the components of physical fitness and describe physical activities that improve these components

Physical Activity

– participate vigorously in all aspects of the program (e.g. gymnastic stations or fitness circuit)

Physical Fitness

– describe the components of physical fitness and relate each component to an appropriate physical activity (e.g. cardiorespiratory – skipping; muscle endurance-abdominal crunches; muscle strength- push-ups; flexibility-sit and reach);

– assess their progress in fitness – enhancing activities at regular intervals (e.g. weekly monitoring of their pulses before and after running or completing exercise circuits)

Materials/Equipment:

For each student: Other:

– jump rope – stop watches

– chart to record pulse/ pencil – warm-up task sheet- ‘Mission Possible’ (1 for each group)

– station numbers w/ corresponding exercise

Activities and Procedures:

Warm-up exercise: We will begin with a group warm-up activity called ‘Mission Possible’.

Lesson- Checking our Pulse: We will introduce a short lesson about locating our pulse and checking/recording our pulse both before and after completing exercises.

(http://www.wikihow.com/Check-Your-Pulse)

Follow-up Exercises: We will engage in 5 short follow-up exercises supporting our lesson about ‘checking our pulse’ both before and after completing exercises. Students will begin to recognize and understand the difference between our regular pulse and our pulse after engaging in physical activity.

Activities:

(1) Crunches (2) Jumping jacks (3) Push-ups (4) Skipping rope (5) Laps of the gym

Model/demonstrate each exercise; Check/record pulse before and after completing each exercise; walk once around the gym in between each exercise, and lay down for 1 minute, so to slow down our pulse for next exercise.

Cool-down: Join together at the rest station. Reflect on what we learned and share personal observations. This will give students an opportunity to get their pulses back to normal (can check it one last time to conclude, so to understand and notice the changes in our pulse at all levels).

Science Resource: That’s the Way the Cookie Crumbles!


Brief Teaching Notes:

The following activity is a simple lab that teachers can use when teaching about mining, the Earth’s crust, rocks and minerals, or human land use issues. Depending on the position of this strand within the annual science curriculum, it could potentially be the first lab students experience that year. Reviewing (or even teaching for the first time) the scientific method is useful, even though students are not required to produce a formal lab report upon completion. Using this as one of the first labs of the year helps students practice their skills at following simple procedures, collecting data, analyzing data, and making inferences based on their observations and the data obtained. Students really enjoy this activity as it is one of the few science labs where they are allowed to eat the results! Prior to beginning, however, check for food allergies. If food allergies are present, different cookies can be substituted. Teachers should use their discretion whenever they are dealing with food in the classroom.

In this lab, students must mine as much chocolate from the chocolate chip cookies as possible. In the first attempt, students can break apart and crumble the cookie to extract the “ore,” but in the second case, students must attempt to keep as much of the cookie intact and damage-free. Students will learn the consequences of mining on the environment and how mines must disturb the environment as little as possible.

Materials Required and Instructions:

Each student will need to receive two chocolate chip cookies, 2 paper towels, and 2 toothpicks. Two digital scales will be used to weigh the chocolate.

Explain to students how the chocolate will be mined (draw a diagram of a cookie on the board to demonstrate):

With the first cookie:

1. Look at the first cookie and fill in the first three parts of the chart.

2. Extract as much chocolate from the cookie as possible using toothpicks. You may break the cookie up if you want. Crumbling the cookie is allowed!

3. Weigh the amount of chocolate and the amount of leftover cookie separately. Fill in the next three parts of the chart.

4. Fill in the remainder of the chart. Eat the cookie.

Repeat steps 1 to 4 with the second cookie, but make sure there is as little damage to the cookie part as little as possible. The goal is to leave as much of the cookie intact as possible, while extracting the chocolate.

Feel free to use the following worksheets during this simple and fun lab!

Think Aloud Strategy

A lesson put together for the Primary Division

(Questioning, Predicting, Connecting, Inferring)

clip_image001

Book: Puddleman

by Ted Staunton, Illustrated by Brenda Clark

Cover

I’m looking at the cover of this book and I wonder what it will be about? Maybe Puddleman is the child’s last name. Or maybe, the story is about playing in a sandbox. (Strategy: Prediction) When I look at the picture I think about the park that is close to my home and where all the children play. (Strategy: Connection) I wonder if this story takes place in a park. (Strategy: Prediction)

On the first 2 pages, the main character (Michael) is depicted in a yard of some sort with other children(including his younger brother) around him and he jumps into the sandbox which is wet and muddy.

A sandbox, I remember playing in those when I was young. (Connection) There was one in the park and I played with all of my friends. I wonder if Michael will get as dirty? (Question) Will he land in the sandbox or outside the sandbox? (Question) Everyone has surprised looks on their faces, where is his mom? (Question) I wonder if his brother will jump in with him. (Prediction)

Page 5&6 Michael got so deep into the sandbox, which is muddy, that he buried himself in it. The children cannot see him any longer, when something in the sandbox starts moving. The neighbor girls run, the neighbor lady faints and the little brother starts to cry.

Why are they so scared? (Question) What happened to Michael? (Question)

Maybe they can’t find Michael. (Inference) What does this Puddleman look like? (Question) Is he really that scary? (Question) Fainted? What does it mean to faint? Well the picture shows the neighbor on the ground, maybe it’s when you fall. (Visualize, Infer)

Pg 11 & 12 Puddleman (Michael) gets hungry but when he goes to his mom, he is told that Peanut Butter sandwiches are for boys and girls. Puddleman looks like a muddy monster and they do not eat anything but mud pies. Michael’s mom shuts the door and tells Puddleman to tell Michael that his sandwich is ready.

What does this Puddleman look like? (Question) Well from the pictures, there is a lot of mud on him. (Visualize, Connection) Who do I think Puddleman is? (Question) Why isn’t Michael’s mom looking for Michael? (Question) Its lunchtime, I think Michael will be very hungry. (Infer) I wonder where he has been, and what he will think of Puddleman. (Connection) I wonder if he will be scared like the others. (Prediction)

After reading the story and doing the Think Aloud with my students. I will make the following comments:

The Puddleman got caught in the rain, and after I looked at the picture Puddleman started losing his mud, and it sort of looks like a boy underneath. From looking at the clothes in the picture, I recall that those were Michael’s clothes.(Evaluation) I think that the Puddleman got his peanut butter sandwich. I think he really was Michael with a lot of mud on him. (Evaluation)

 

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Teaching Proverbs

When introducing proverbs to my students, I would start with a general discussion asking them to think about a major crisis, decision they had to make, or problem they had to deal with.

The following would be a few of the directing questions:

· Do you prefer facing those kinds of problems alone, or does it help to ask others for advice and direction?

· Who do you trust with some of your most difficult problems? Why?

· Do you try to follow their advice, or do you tend to ignore it?

 

I would then discuss with them the book of Proverbs and what they are, for example:

· The book of Proverbs is a collection of short statements that express truths about human behavior.

· The proverbs found in the Old Testament can be a source of inspiration, counsel, and direction to those who read and ponder their messages of wisdom.

· They are a collection of wise sayings, many of which were inspired by the Lord, which can help us with many problems.

 

I would then switch gears and present a modern day proverb and elicit some from my students (if they know any)

List of modern day proverbs: (just a few) (see worksheet page 1)

· Don’t count your chickens before they hatch (proverb)

· Birds of a feather flock together

· Keep it simple silly

· Actions speak louder than words

· Six in one hand, a half dozen in the other

· A chain is as strong as its weakest link

· A friend in need is a friend indeed

· A place for everything and everything in its place

· A rolling stone gathers no moss

I would then ask the following questions and have students respond in their notebooks:

  • What is a proverb?
  • What is the purpose of a proverb? What kinds of messages or lessons do the proverbs teach?
  • Where do you think proverbs come from?
  • Why do you think proverbs are easily remembered?

Then introduce the Book of Proverbs and read the first few lines highlighting Proverb 1:4

Discuss with students that proverbs utilize figurative language and making a connection to similes, and metaphors.

Define figurative language: Appealing to the imagination, figurative language provides new ways of looking at the world. It always makes use of a comparison between different things.

Strategy #1 (see worksheet page 2)

To deepen understanding & meaning, students could utilize a comic strip approach.

Students are to choose one proverb from the everyday list. In the first row below (of max 4 boxes) they are to depict the literal meaning of the phrase.

Then in the next row directly below, they are to depict an everyday situation in their life where this would apply (the figurative meaning) to demonstrate their understanding

Example:

Literal Depiction
Application

Display their depictions and discuss as a group. This class discussion would generate ideas being shared and deepen meaning and reasoning skills.

Students are to then choose a proverb from the bible and communicate the meaning in their own words. They can utilize a drawing to help them express how this proverb can be useful in their life.

Strategy # 2

Play “Charades.” Write some of the everyday proverbs on a 3″ x 5~’ card. Give each child a card to pantomime for the group. Record the proverbs on the board and discuss meaning. Have students in groups of 3 choose a proverb from the bible and prepare a charades version of that one to act out in front of class.

Have students write in their notebooks what the meaning of the proverb they worked on means to them.

As a closing for both strategies have students respond to the original questions:

  • What is a proverb?
  • What is the purpose of a proverb? What kinds of messages or lessons do the proverbs teach?
  • Where do you think proverbs come from?
  • Why do you think proverbs are easily remembered?

Accommodations:

In both of my strategies, students are given the opportunity to demonstrate their knowledge in a multiple format (creating comic strips, writing, communicating with discussion, movement). Furthermore, students are supported by working in groups. I would make sure to have balanced groupings. While discussing, I could stop and re-iterate the concept. When students are working on their own, they could have peer or teacher assistance.

The following worksheets can assist you in teaching about this topic:

Using Famous Speeches

During the month of January, I usually begin a public speaking unit with my students. Public speaking is an excellent method of integrating various curriculum expectations into a single unit. How does this happen?

  • Media Literacy is addressed as students begin the unit by viewing three important speeches on YouTube and discussing the importance of the content and the effectiveness of the delivery
  • Students practice their narrative/expository/persuasive writing skills by going through the writing stages for their speech
  • Oral Communication is addressed when students deliver their respective speeches to the class in an effective and engaging manner, while also addressing  listening for understanding (as an audience member).

My students usually are very apprehensive about writing and delivering a speech, but they all end up doing a fabulous job!

To start off this unit, we watch three speeches on YouTube:

 

Severn Suzuki

Severn Suzuki “ECO’s Address to the U.N. Earth Summit”

Why is this a great choice? What Canadian doesn’t know who David Suzuki is?! Well, Severn is his daughter and in 1992 (at just 12 years old!) she addressed the United Nations at the Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro.   Her powerful speech presented environmental concerns from a youth perspective at this U.N. Summit.  Her message still resonates today.

 

Randy Pausch

Randy Pausch “The Last Lecture”

This 10 minute clip from Oprah is an abridged version of the popular “The Last Lecture” by Carnegie Mellon University professor Randy Pausch that answers the question, “what wisdom would you try to impart on the world if you knew it was your last chance?”  Randy Pausch had been diagnosed with terminal pancreatic cancer when he delivered this inspirational and emotional speech.  he passed away on July 25, 2008.

 

Martin Luther King Jr.

“I have a dream…” by Martin Luther King Jr.

Many students have heard the famous line “I have a dream…” by Martin Luther King Jr. on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial in Washington D.C. during the American Civil Rights Movement, but they may not have heard his full speech.  Although this clip is long (coming in at over 17 minutes), students remained captivated by both the delivery and message of this powerful speech.

The following chart helps students jot down the ideas that resonate from the three speeches they watched.  Students are to focus on the importance of both the content and the delivery of each speech because it doesn’t matter if you’re a great speaker if your message is unclear, just as an important message is lost if the delivery is ineffective.